Moms’ Self-Esteem: Are We ‘Waiting to Get Our Sexy Back?’–Guest Post by Lori Verni-Fogarsi

I recently “met” fellow mom-writer Lori Verni-Fogarsi online and was thrilled when she asked to contribute a guest post about her recent book, “Momnesia.”  

 

Moms. We’re just so… mommyish. Which is a good thing, for the most part! I mean, it’s important to take good care of the children we’ve brought into this world and for most of us, our “momminess” is not the struggle.

Our sexiness? That’s another issue altogether, and much harder to maintain in face of
the daily challenges of parenting. In my novel, “Momnesia,” an average suburban mom concludes that she’s become completely overrun by her dedication to being a good mom, and realizes that she (and everyone else) has forgotten about herself as a regular person.  A woman. A sexy, fun-loving lady who has interests other than rhyming books and PTA meetings. She sets about finessing a new version of her old vivaciousness.

The problem? She doesn’t feel sexy anymore, and according to many women I’ve spoken with in real life, this is very common. In fact, one of the most frequent comments I hear is, “Sexiness? Yeah, right!”

Many of us have a tendency to look back at who we used to be. Whether a high school cheerleader or an average gal, we often feel like we’ve strayed so far, it’s almost unimaginable that we’d ever feel the way we did before kids. Between that and all we see in the media, it’s no wonder so many of us feel decidedly un-sexy.

To some extent, we’re right. The fact is, we’re not in high school and we’re never going to look and feel exactly like we did before kids. In the story, the main character comes to this conclusion and realizes that if she “waits” to feel sexy again, she could easily be waiting forever. She also concludes that it would be extraordinarily unlikely that she would look back in ten years and think she looks any better then, than she did right now: “The Chicken Belly Flap Thing and all the other imperfections would undoubtedly still be there, but there would also be innumerable other blemishes; physical woes I hadn’t even thought of yet.”

So many of us are “waiting for” something to happen before we “allow ourselves” to feel sexy again, but really it’s up to us to make it happen in our own hearts and minds. In our actions. In the way we think about our Selves. Instead of mourning all of the things that have changed, we can make the choice to appreciate the positive characteristics we do have, right now, at this time in our lives.

So, what do you say ladies? Shall we bring our sexy back, starting now? You bet!

Lori Verni-Fogarsi is the author of the novel, “Momnesia,” which has recently been designated a National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist. She has been a freelance writer, columnist, journalist, and seminar speaker for 15+ years, and has authored one nonfiction book, “Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs,” which has been widely acclaimed in its genre. Lori is a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Her next novel, “Gramnesia” has a release date of April 19, 2013. She invites you to learn more at www.LoriTheAuthor.com and join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LoriTheAuthor

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MOMS VOTE: What matters most to moms about their sexuality?

In honor of election day (don’t forget to vote!!) I want to take an informal poll.  What is most important to you as a mom about your sexuality?  What issues do you wish you heard more about?  Are there any parts of the sexuality of mothers that you think are ignored and you would like to read more about?

I’d love it if you would take a moment and respond in the comments section (anonymously is fine) about what matters most to you as a mom in your sex life so that I can address those issues in future blog posts.

What matters to you?

Is it finding time to have a sexual relationship with your partner?

Is it keeping your sexual flame alive through masturbation?

Is providing your kids straightforward information about sexuality?

Tell us, what’s important to you?

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Here are a few things about my sexuality as a woman and a mom that I think are important:

– It matters to me for moms to know that it is okay feel very sexual sometimes (and to act on this in wild and crazy ways) and to know that it’s also okay when you don’t.  There isn’t a right way, a wrong way, a right number, or a wrong number.  As long as you are able to communicate openly what feels right to you.

-It matters to me that moms don’t forget how easy, quick, and enjoyable masturbation is and give themselves permission to do it!

-It matters to me that my children understand at an age-appropriate level that YES mom and dad have sex, YES we enjoy it, and YES it is an important part of our relationship.  This means they learn to respect a closed door while mom and dad have alone time.  This means that they also see us being flirtatious and physically affectionate with each other.  This is some of the most important role-modeling we can give them–so they can have healthy sexual relationships of their own in the future!

-It matters to me that I feel able to communicate my sexual needs to my partner–what works and what doesn’t, even if it feels hard or embarrassing to do.

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Now, what matters most to YOU?

When sex becomes a chore

“Oh my God, three days without sex is like DEATH for me.” says a sweet, child-less friend upon hearing a couple of moms talking about how sex once a week is an honorable goal in our child-full existences.

“Oh my God, I NEVER want to have sex.” says a mom of an almost one-year-old over coffee, her eyes brimming with tears.

Both of these are conversations I’ve had recently.

And they are both examples of the different perspectives women have about how much sex is too much, too little, and not enough (for us or for our partner).  There are moms I know for whom sex once a week is way too little, and others for whom sex once a month feels like way too much.

I know I’m not the only mom who keeps a mental calendar in her mind about the last time she had sex.  But it’s more than a check mark on a calendar.  Sometimes I feel like having sex four times in a weekend, other times I could go a month without it.  It varies–and there is no right or wrong number. 

But too many  moms DO worry about it.  They might stress out that it’s been “too long,” and can find themselves going through the motions of having sex–not so much because they  WANT to– but because  of their sense of responsibility to mark another sexual encounter off on the calendar.

“At least that’s done,” they think.  “Now I don’t have to worry about it until next week, or next month.” (Or whatever increment of time your sexual calendar is on.)

It’s not that it’s never okay to have sex more for your partner than yourself.  It happens.

But moms begin to tread dangerous waters of forfeiting our sexual identity if EVERY time  or MOST or the times that we have sex, we’re doing it because our internal calendar tells us “It’s time again!  Need to check this off the calendar now too.”

Our sexuality is much more important than playdates, bills we pay, and soccer lessons.  And if we find ourselves checking sex off our to-do list, like we do other things in our daily lives, its time to take a step back and take an honest look at what’s going on.

WHEN WE HAVE SEX BASED ON OUR PARTNER’S SEXUAL NEEDS

At some point, moms can realize that almost every time they have sex it’s because of their partner’s sexual needs and not their own.

And if that happens often, our highly-developed mom’s sense of guilt turns our sexuality into something that only performs based on our guilt or worry about meeting his/her carnal needs.  And we forget about our own sexual needs.

Too many moms then find themselves in a cycle of not paying attention to when THEY want to have sex, and more importantly into WHAT MAKES them want to have sex, and they only have sex when they feel their partner wants it.

This breeds guilt.  Guilt breeds resentment.

Resentment breeds itself.

THE HARDEST CONVERSATION

One of the hardest conversations a relationship can have is when you sit your partner down and tell him or her that the way you are having sex isn’t working for you.  But if our sexuality has been hijacked by a sense of duty, this is exactly the conversation you should be having.

It doesn’t have to be a litany of you never do this, and I always do that, and you must not care about me.

But the honest truth is that sex won’t get better unless you talk about it.  And you should.  Because your sexuality and your pleasure belong to YOU.

As moms we are so used to letting our needs go by the way-side, that we can let this happen to our sexual needs.  There have been times in my life when I was so utterly bogged down with motherhood that sexual desire seemed  alien to me and I didn’t even know WHAT turned me on anymore.  So for too long, I just ignored this very big problem thinking it would come back at some point.

It wasn’t until I sat down and had the conversation (it is an on-going one) and with my partner brainstormed about what makes me aroused, what makes me want to have sex, that I made any progress in figuring out how to improve it.  We came up with movie scenes I thought were hot, vibrators I enjoyed, erotic stories (a big one for me!), ways to build sexual anticipation during the day so I’m even thinking about it–and we even talked about the interactions we needed to have before sex was initiated that would make me feel relaxed and close to him and ready for intimacy.

Our life, just like yours I’m sure, is chaotic and messy, and so these criteria for what put me in the mood rarely all line up, but we pull from them when we need them.  We don’t usually have sex if we haven’t talked at all during the day because during our conversation I realized that what I need most is to feel emotionally close to him.  So we wait until we’ve had a chance to connect emotionally before we connect physically.

THE MOTHERHOOD REINVENTION

Things change once we have kids, and that can include what makes us feel in the mood for sex.  It is our responsibility to make sure we know what these things are.

Sex should be about us, about what makes us feel good, because then we eagerly and graciously attend to our partner’s needs as well as our own without falling into a sea of guilt and resentment.

How has desire changed for you since you became a mom?  Have you and your partner had the conversation?

The Friday Five: Sixth Edition

This week’s contributor, T, a mom of two elementary-aged kids answers five questions about her sex life. 

 

The Friday Five:  Sixth Edition

What does being a sexual mama mean to you?

It means being a multi-dimensional being.  I don’t just wipe bottoms and noses.  I’m more than a mom and chauffeur. I think, I feel, I’m horny.  It makes me happy to have secret sexual jokes with my partner and pass knowing looks when we are surrounded by little people and the responsibilities of parenthood.  I chose him to spend my life with – never forgetting what I have in a partner is vital to our romantic life.

What’s the best thing about your sex life now?

My sex life is exciting and silly. Years together have lead us to a place of complete comfort and ease.

 How would you compare your sex life before kids with after kids?

Always good – so much better now.  Our family is complete.  We are surgically infertile.  Sex is all about fun and we are as open and free with one another as two people can be.  We are past the sleep deprived mayhem and we have a lot of adult alone time after the kids go to bed to explore.

What is the most important thing to you about your sexuality?

I’m selfish.  I do things I enjoy, and I expect to be satisfied.  I am super orgasmic and wouldn’t consider faking it or engaging in anything I didn’t completely find hot.  I firmly believe that sexual confidence breeds sexual satisfaction.

Anything fun or exciting in your sex life you want to share? (I live vicariously.)

For average middle aged parents, we toss in a lot of dirty to daily life.  Flirty, dirty texts.  Trips to the sex toy shop (while the other partner is buying toilet paper at Target with the kids). This secret life adds to our intimacy and fun.

 

Repost: Toy Story: Motherhood and Sexual Healing

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An excellent piece from the literary parenting magazine Brain, Child by Meredith Fein Lichtenberg, CCE as posted on Huffington Post.

“When I walk in to teach my workshop, the students’ chairs are arranged in front of dozens of vibrators. Along the wall behind me, like my backup singers, is an assortment of arm-sized strap-on dildos. This is Babeland, the New York City sex toy shop, and I am here to give a workshop about Sexuality and New Motherhood.”

The Friday Five: Recovering your sex life after a car accident

Where each week a different Mom answers five questions about her sex life.

This week’s contributor J, is a thirty-three year old South American mom of one elementary aged son.  She was recently injured in a traumatic car accident and is married to her, “wonderful, handsome husband.”

Friday Five:  Fifth Edition

How would you describe your sex life right now?

Right now it’s not that bad actually.  The days I don’t feel that sexual are when I’m on my period and with my injuries it hurts more.  I know that after the accident my hips got inflamed, but we have to be resourceful.  We’ve found lots of positions that don’t put so much pressure on my hips.  That is to say we are being very religious right now–lots of missionary position.

I have my needs and my husband has his needs and sex is such a good way of relaxing yourself.  So this week I’ve been really stressed out and I am doing some new physical therapies and I feel so good and I thought it’d be good to do something different.  And when it’s hard to sleep, having sex helps us sleep.  Right after the accident we couldn’t for awhile.   Now,  I have my vibrator and I find it’s a good way to relieve stress.

What’s been your biggest sexual challenge since becoming a mom?

Eradicating all the patriarchal crap that was put on my mind by the Catholic church.  I love being a mom, but I’m not the Virgin Mary.  So I have fought the societal idea that once I became a mom I had to only focus on my child and forget that I am a sexual woman.  It’s important for relationships.

I tell my daughter that it’s important that her father and I love each other and sometimes we become moms and we think being a mom is everything and we forget about ourselves and our partner.

It’s about finding a balance. I found myself having to rescue my femininity after beoming a mother.  Because before I was a mother I was a woman.  So we shut the door and when she knocks on the door and asks, “What are you doing?”  We say we are loving each other.

What is the most important thing to you about your sexuality?

 The connection with my partner.  It’s the moment with him.  Also, it’s also beyond the physical connection, the experience of being together.  I’m really in pain, but we have to communicate a lot about what feels good and what hurts.  So we have a deeper emotional connection because we can’t be wild, but we don’t stop doing it.  We want to be together so we have to find the ways that feel good.

What does being a sexual mama mean to you? 

Being a woman.  You have somebody to take care of, being maternal, taking care of your kids, it’s beautiful.  But you also need to feel certain things as a woman that your kids can’t give you.

I want to feel well, but I don’t want to start something that I can’t finish and at some point I thought my husband didn’t want to be with me sexually, but really, he just was scared of hurting me.

What’s the best thing about your sex life now?  

 Just the fact that I know he cares that this is a hard time for me.  So many men would only be caring about their own needs so having a man who cares and wants to make me feel good is the most important thing to me.

Also, I have a little pink vibrator, it’s not too big, not too small.  I use it by myself and with him and it’s really great.

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Thank you so much J, for taking the time to share your answers for the Friday Five.  And I really hope you continue to heal quickly from your injuries.

Readers, what questions would you like to see in the Friday Five?  Post them as comments and you might see them in next week’s edition.

 Are YOU interested in participating?  Shoot me an email at slofmoms@gmail.com.

The best excuse you’ve yelled through the bedroom door at your kids about why it’s shut, and why they can’t come in.

What do you say to keep the little critters out?

The candles are lit, soft music is playing in the background and you and your honey are painstakingly arousing every inch of each other’s bodies, when there is a knock on the door, “Mom!  Dad!  What’s going on in there?”

Okay, scratch the candles, the music and the foreplay.  Even the odds that you are actually having sex behind that closed door instead of paying bills, putting laundry away, or if you’re really naughty–catching up on Breaking Bad–may be slim to none.  But let’s just imagine that you actually are having sex behind that door–the kids actually are entertaining themselves and you’ve seized the chance, rushed in your room, shoved the clean laundry off the bed, and are fumbling through a quickie with most of your clothes still on– hey, you’re actually doing it and it’s good, and you’re about to come–when you hear the knock.

What do you yell through the door to get your kids to go away and let you finish the task at hand?

Some quick-thinking moms I know say things like, “We’re talking about what type of dog we’re getting!”

Or, “We’re talking about Christmas secrets!”

The goal is to get them to want to leave you alone without getting suspicious.

Leave a comment and tell us what’s the best excuse you’ve yelled through the door at your kids so that you and your partner can finish what you’ve started?